Author Archives: E.R.E. Knutsson

Celebrating America’s European Heritage: Leif Erikson

Joseph F. Healey has pointed out that White ethnic identities are evolving into new shapes and forms, merging the various “hyphenated” ethnic identities into a single, generalized “European American” identity based on race and a common history of immigration and assimilation.  In light of the fact that virtually every minority group has generated a protest […]

Quantum Dylan: A Double Act, Part 2

It is doubtful whether Dylan has ever read Wagner’s Judaism in Music — in which it is argued that Jewish musicians are essentially bricoleurs, only capable of “nonsensical gurgling, yodeling and cackling.” Nevertheless, Dylan’s gloriously imperfect and constantly mobile singing voice, and his boundless ability to mix musical styles, eerily correspond to Wagner’s stereotype of […]

Quantum Dylan: A Double Act, Part 1

Bob Dylan’s 70th anniversary was celebrated worldwide on May 24th. Hailed as the Shakespeare of his generation, Dylan has sold more than 58 million albums, and written more than 500 songs recorded by more than 2000 artists. Dylan has described himself as “a person who owns the Sixties.”  At the same time, he has spent a […]

The Archaeology of Postmodernity, Part III: Transvestism in Music

The Austrian statesman Clemens von Metternich once declared that the Orient started southeast of the city walls of Vienna. Western Europe’s centuries-long confrontation with Oriental empires helped define Central Europe as a cultural and historical frontier region.  The experience of imperial subjugation and multi-ethnicity — an Eastern European patchwork of ethnic groups with different languages, […]

The Archaeology of Postmodernity, Part II: The Emancipation of Dissonance

From an “archaeological” point of view, there are several striking parallels between early 20th-century Austria (as exemplified by the case of Vienna) and early 21st-century America. The easiest ones to unearth are these: increasingly intense minority activism (encouraged by laissez faire policies), a gradual breakdown of the hegemony of the national language and traditional culture, […]

The Archaeology of Postmodernity, Part I: Viennese Mutations

Karlskirche, Vienna The long-term destiny of the Western world has been a movement from pre-modern ‘Providence’ via modern ‘Progress’ to postmodern ‘Nihilism’. Providentialism’s linear future-oriented focus — emphasizing the role of reason to the detriment of divine intervention — easily merged with the Enlightenment idea of Progress, paving the way for the rise of modern science. […]

Leif Erikson Day and America’s European Heritage

Joseph F. Healey has pointed out that White ethnic identities are evolving into new shapes and forms, merging the various “hyphenated” ethnic identities into a single, generalized “European American” identity based on race and a common history of immigration and assimilation. In the light of the fact that virtually every minority group has generated a protest movement […]

Signs of the Times, Part II: Post-Democracy in the Age of Simulation

Democracy — the exception to the rule in world history — belongs to the unique cultural signature of Western civilization. The societies of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Celts and Germans all shared a similar proto-democratic, tribal organization going back to a common Indo-European social order. In the course of its civilizational history, Western democracy has been transformed from direct […]

Signs of the Times, Part I: Postmodern Moral Panics and the Manufacture of Virtue

It has been suggested that we live in an era of postmodern moral panics — bouts of moral horror directed, inter alia, at contraventions of elite values related to race, racism, and ethnic and gender identity politics. Kenneth Thompson has pointed out the “increasing rapidity in the succession of moral panics” and “the all-pervasive quality of panics that […]